Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs exclusively to J.K. Rowling.

Warnings: slash, violence, mentions of abuse.

Harry Potter looked up from the book he was reading with a small smile as he felt a very familiar presence approaching the room in which he sat. The children gathered around him, ranging in age from three years to just under ten years, eyed him curiously before following his gaze to the still closed door. Those who had known him long enough shot each other discreet smirks, already knowing why the man had trailed off so abruptly from the story he had been reading them, and was now looking outwards with a slightly dreamy expression.

"Draco is coming," one of the witches said, before giggling with the redhead beside her.

"I heard that," Harry stated, glaring good-naturedly at her.

"But it's true," she defended.

Harry shook his head ruefully at that, because, the witch was entirely right. If it was not for the fact that it would amuse the children around him even further, the man would have already fled the chair he was seated in, running across the room and into the hallway to meet the veela half way. But, the children already laughed at him enough as is, and he knew that Draco would not appreciate having to fend off the little monsters that would inevitably mob them, inquiring as to what he intended to do with their Harry. He chuckled at the thought of it. The children were very possessive of him, and had taken to vetoing any plans that Draco came up with. The man endured it with good humour though, for he genuinely cared for the little brats that Harry devoted so much of his time too. More than that, he was certain that soon enough one or two of the brats would find a place with them in their home.

Although he maintained his decorum during his approach, Harry could restrain himself no longer when the veela finally entered the room after a perfunctory knock. Barely had he opened the door did Harry rise and, ignoring the giggles from the on-looking children, allowed himself to be swooped up into his mate's embrace.

"Hello dominant," he whispered, before leaning up for a brief, chaste kiss to the lips.

Draco's arms tightened about his waist possessively before he returned the greeting with one of his own. "And hello to you too, little voyeurs," he bid, looking over the brunet's shoulder.

A chorus of greetings met his ears, and, after stealing another kiss from Harry, he released him, although the hand on his waist remained. He guided him back to the vacated seat, and, after sitting, he pulled his husband down to sit on his knee, before picking up the discarded book of fairytales. "Isn't this?" he asked, looking at him questioningly.

"It is," he confirmed with a nod. "It's the very first storybook you ever read to me. I thought that they would enjoy it."

"Really Harry?" a seven year old interrupted. "Draco used to read that story to you?"

"Every night," he said with a nod. "I think it was almost a year before I allowed him to choose a next one."

"Dragons still are your favourite creatures."

"And unicorns are yours," Harry teased before tweaking his nose.

"You're so romantic," a girl cooed, something that brought agreement from some of the other students but a good few eye-rolls from some of the boys. Draco's chest shook with silent laughter as he noted their actions. They would be the first to fall head over heels in love when the time came, he warranted.

Inevitably, as it always did whenever Draco joined Harry on one of his visits, the conversation turned to their relationship. Neither truly minded for, revisiting the past helped them to remember exactly where they had come from, and the strides they had made over the years. After all, Harry was nowhere near his previous level of brattiness, and Draco's possessive nature had tamed considerably with time.

"Were you always like this," a boy – Ethan – asked eventually.

"What do you mean?" Harry inquired.

"I mean, you always look so happy together. But, did you all ever fight when you were our age?"

The pair shared a look before dissolving into laughter. "Trust me Ethan," Harry responded once he had calmed down. "The fights we used to have were legendary, not that they are any better now. But to answer your question, we've always been like this in terms of the love we have for each other. That has never changed throughout the years. However, that does not mean that we did not try each other's patience at times."

"And let's not talk about the times I was forced to turn you over my knee to get you to behave."

"Draco!" Harry gasped, even as he felt a flush heat his face. "That only happened once or twice. Did you really have to bring that up?"

"Draco did that to you?" several of the children gasped, looking at the man with incredulous eyes.

Harry, ever the actor, placed a 'distressed' expression on his face. "Did he ever," he told his captive audience. "He was so mean to me at times."

"Stop it you," Draco ordered, clamping a hand firmly over his mouth. "Don't let this one fool you. Harry certainly was a brat when we were younger and there were times when tougher methods were needed to get him to take heed. Before he fills your heads with tall tales, would you like to hear of one of those times? You can be the judge then."

Draco gave his mate a slight smirk as the children agreed, laughing softly at the annoyance that radiated through their bond toward him. Harry was not truly angry though, and Draco knew that he would not be too embarrassed by a retelling of his misadventure. After all, he had shared several other stories, others a lot worse, with the children. And, even if he was upset, the veela knew that he would have a very good time making it up to him that night.

"Now let me see," he began, wrapping his hands loosely around Harry's middle. "He's right when he said that it did not happen too often. But this time was the worst. I think we were in our third year then, so you would have been, what, eleven?"

"Yes," Harry grumbled, before settling his head on his shoulder. "I started school before time," he said to a sandy haired boy who was a recent addition to the group.

"Yes he did," Draco confirmed at the boy's slightly incredulous look. "I'll tell you that story after. But for now, let us deal with this brat who wishes to paint me as a villain. Now..."

Hogwarts 1993.

It had started off as a typical morning for the residents of Hogwarts. Students ambled into the Great Hall at will for breakfast, a good few yawning, while others lamented about homework assignments that had yet to be done. Yes, no-one expected anything out of the ordinary to happen today, that was until an enraged veela stormed into the Hall, causing an abrupt silence to fall over its occupants as all eyes turned toward him. The veela was oblivious to their scrutiny though; his focus was solely on finding his errant mate, who he was certain was seated among them. Said mate was even now shrinking further down into his seat while ignoring the questioning looks from his friends. Even if he had the time to explain Draco's mood to them, he doubted that they would take his side on the matter.

His pitiful attempt at hiding proved meaningless though, for his mate easily singled out his presence before stalking over to him. The Gryffindors seated around him – even his friends – quickly moved away from him, for none wished to incur the Malfoy's heir's wrath at this point. While they were certain that Harry would come to no harm, despite the foul expression on his mate's face, their own safety was not as assured. A small whimper escaped Harry's throat when the veela reached him. Draco grasped his upper arms tightly as he pulled him from his seat. He found himself unable to meet his furious gaze, and so lowered his head, hoping that he would be placated by his meek demeanour. His attempt though, failed miserably. He made one attempt to speak, but after the snarl that emanated from his mate's mouth, he wisely fell silent. He knew that he deserved what was coming to him; he had been wrong, but that did not mean that he wanted to be punished.

Thus, when his veela started dragging him down the aisle toward the doors, he knew that it was not in his best interest to allow his mate to get him in private. The most he would have to endure in here was a scolding. However that was not guaranteed if they were alone. Somehow, he had an inkling that his mate would not be satisfied with just chewing him out and he wanted to delay, if not completely nullify any further retributive act from happening.

With that in mind, he dug his heels into the ground while layering his body with magic to weight it down. Within seconds, he was too heavy for his mate to move him further, and, despite himself, a small victorious smile formed on his lips when Draco spun toward him. That smile faded at the glare shot his way, but more than anything, it convinced the eleven year old that they needed to stay right here, in the public eye. He did not care at this point what rumours would abound; Draco's actions alone were enough to ensure that they would be the talk of the school for the remainder of the day.

"Release the spell," Draco snapped, his eyes narrowed dangerously. It was a tone that Harry rarely heard from the veela, but it was one that he always instantaneously obeyed.

"No," he responded, although his voice was far from assured. He swallowed nervously when the grip on his wrist tightened, and when he dared to look up into the blond's eyes, he whimpered softly. His refusal certainly was not helping his case.

Draco's head bent closer to his. "Now really is not the time to be recalcitrant cub," he warned in an icy tone. "You are already in enough trouble as is. Do not add to it."

A shiver ran down Harry's spine at the clear warning, even as his rational mind screamed at him to obey. All he had to do was release the spell and they would be on their way. Draco might even be somewhat appeased by it. But no, instead of listening to reason, he instead chose to give credence to that little voice in his mind that always pointed him to mischief. After all, his mate was a stalwart for their public image. He highly doubted that the veela would do anything that could potentially affect the Malfoy name. What Harry failed to take into account though, was the fact that, in his current state, Draco was more concerned with bringing his recalcitrant mate to task than to care for something as trivial as their reputation.

"I will give you until the count of three to drop this little show Harry James. You know better than to cross me like this and believe me, it is something we will speak about in depth later. Now, will you obey me or shall I start counting? Fine Harry James, have it your way, but do not say that you were not warned. One...two...Really, you should know better than to try something like this...three..."

Harry really had not concerned the repercussions of his mate's words. He certainly did not expect this to happen. He had honestly believed that the veela would counter his spell, before dragging him from the hall. What he did not anticipate though was the hard tug that startled him enough to break the spell. Before he could catch himself, the veela had propped up a leg against a bench and had bent him across the raised appendage. His shock was brief though, and within seconds, he was struggling, wriggling frantically to rise even as he felt his face flame. Draco would not do that would he?

He certainly did.

Harry hissed as the first stinging spank landed firmly on his bum, before groaning as several gasps rose from the viewing audience. He had completely forgotten about them, and now more than ever, he was sorry for annoying his mate to this extent. How would he ever live this down, he bemoaned, even as he yelped from a next spank. How could he face the student body, far less the professors after this? They already coddled him; what would they do after seeing him being dealt with like a naughty child? At the very least, he decided, biting his lip, he could try to remain stoic and not cry and kick out as he so badly wanted to do. Maybe if he maintained his decorum they would not see how truly humiliated he was?

Two smacks later and that thought went out the window along with any hope of dignity.

"Stop it Draco," he whined, his voice carrying across the silent room.

Why wasn't anyone, be it his Uncle or Grandfather intervening? They certainly were brave enough to do so. Why were they allowing him to be spanked like this? "Draco," he repeated a waver in his tone now. If the veela continued on as he was doing, he would certainly start crying, and then his humiliation would be complete.

His mate's voice, when he finally responded, was considerably calmer, although an edge of anger still remained. "You really have not left me with much choice Harry James. Had you only heeded me it would not have come to this point."

"I'm sorry," he gasped, although he was not entirely sure what he was apologising for. However, if it made the veela stop, and allowed him to find a hole to bury himself in, he did not care. "Dominant!"

"You are not sorry," came the clipped reply. "You are just trying to save your pride and your behind. You deserve this cub; you know that. And you are going to get ample reward for your actions over the past few hours."

"This isn't fair," he said, even as he felt the first tear slip loose.

He raised a clenched hand to wipe it away, even as a part of him acknowledged that he truly had put himself in this current situation. He had gone off with the twins on his own volition. Had he not listened to them, and instead had done what he knew to be right, he would not be bent on his mate's knee currently, getting his bottom warmed.

When begging seemed not to do the trick, the eleven year old decided to switch tactics. Managing to add an accusatory tone to his voice, he twisted his head slightly in a vain attempt to meet his veela's gaze. "I thought you loved me?" he protested around a sniffle. "You're not supposed to do this to me!"

"It's because I love you that I am doing this Harry James," came the immediate retort along with the hardest smack yet. "Don't you dare talk such foolishness around me."

"You don't," Harry shot back, even though experience told him that this truly was not the case. He just wanted to be allowed to rise and escape the room. He could make amends for any cruel words at a later time. "You wouldn't do this to me otherwise."

"What I am doing," he returned, "is protecting you from yourself. I love you enough to keep you from harming yourself, something that you seem hell bent on doing! Allow me to remind you Harry James. As your dominant it is my duty to protect you, to love, nurture and care for you. How can I do that if you run off doing Merlin alone knows what? More than that, you ensured that I could not follow you. Do you have any idea how much danger you could have found yourself in."

"I didn't leave the castle!" he protested.

"Furthermore," he continued, ignoring his words, "it is not your place to incapacitate me. Were you even thinking last night little boy? You were not, which is why I need to do this. You are my life, and until you get that through that stubborn head of yours and stop placing yourself in danger, I will do what I have to do to keep you safe. And if that means I have to spank some sense to you then I will. I will not lose you. You. Are. My. Life."

The pure emotion in his voice had Harry pausing, and, ignoring the still punishing hand, he dwelt on his words. They were the truth, and, with a pang, Harry realised just how disrespectful his actions had been. He lowered his head, this time in honest contrition as he recognised just how must strife and worry his mate must have gone through while he was off on an 'adventure'.

"I'm sorry," he whispered again, although this time, the words were sincere. "I'm sorry dominant."

The hand finally stilled, something that he was eternally grateful for, as he knew that it meant that Draco understood that what he was saying was the truth. It was not just an attempt to stop the punishment; Harry was acknowledging that he was in the wrong.

"I'm glad you are," he said gruffly, before pulling him to his feet. "We can continue this in our quarters. I must warn you though; I am not entirely certain that I am finished lecturing your bum."

The eleven year old's breath hitched at the thought of more punishment, but he did not fight the veela when he tossed him over his shoulder. Although the position was embarrassing, it allowed him to bury his head into his mate's back, and in doing so, saved himself from facing his classmates.

The children were wide eyed when the veela finally fell quiet. None could truly believe what they had heard, but experience had thought them that the men before them never lied. If they said it had happened, then it did.

"But what did you do after that Harry?" a witch asked with genuine concern. "The school..."

"No one remembers Evelyn," he responded with a smile. "Uncle Severus cast a memory charm directly after we left. They remembered Draco stalking into the hall, but after that, they only remember us leaving."

"You weren't mad at him for doing that though?"

"I was," he admitted, even as his fingers tangled with his mate's. "I think I threatened you never to do something like that again?" At Draco's confirming nod, he continued, "but I understand why he did it, even if I never approved. Veelas can be irrational sometimes, especially when it comes to keeping their mate's safe. It's an instinct he's long since curtailed though. I can take care of myself."

"I know you can."

"Good," Harry grinned, "or else you would find yourself kicked out of our bed more often." Before Draco could come up with a suitable retort, Harry turned, directing his attention to the students once again. "Now, we have about an hour left before snack time. Shall I finish the story?"

"No, we want to hear more about you!"

"Yeah, Ethan doesn't know everything! Tell us it all again."

The two men traded amused looks. Ethan was just an excuse to get them talking. Any one of them were capable of telling the boy anything pertinent about them, but, for the children, their lives were a real life story, one that they constantly enjoyed hearing. And they would indulge them like they always did.

"Well then," Harry said. "I suppose I should start from the beginning. The first thing you need to know is what happened to Draco the night that I got this scar..."